Good morning. It’s Monday, July 26, 2010, and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.
European broadcast entertainment company RTL Group completes a deal for the sale of UK broadcaster Five Group (Five) to British publisher Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell for $161 million. RTL Group acquired Five about five years ago for upwards of $430 million. Gerhard Zeiler, CEO, RTL Group, said, “With a significant recovery of the UK TV advertising market and Five performing well in the first half of 2010, we saw a window of opportunity to realize a transaction based on a fair evaluation of Five. The disposal is in line with RTL Group’s strategy of being number one or two in each of our markets.” Dawn Airey will stay on as Five’s CEO.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco handed down a ruling on its review of the ongoing Mattel and MGA Entertainment battle over the Bratz doll and product line, finding this time in MGA’s favor. The decision overturns the 2008 copyright infringement ruling that gave Mattel many of the rights to the MGA Bratz line, followed in 2009 by a federal judge ruing that supported the jury’s findings in Mattel’s favor, followed another six month later in December 2009 by a court of appeals decision that put the whole case back on ice leading us another seven months forward to this new decision. The decision means that Mattel will have to retry its case that it owns the Bratz line, which the toy company says was created by a former employee while still working for Mattel. Among the points made in the new decision the court says, “It is not equitable to transfer this billion dollar brand the value of which is overwhelmingly the result of MGA’s legitimate efforts because it may have started with two misappropriated names. The district court’s imposition of constructive trust forcing MGA to hand over its sweat equity was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated.” In another point the decision noted that, “Even assuming that MGA took some ideas wrongfully, it added tremendous value by turning the ideas into products and, eventually, a popular highly profitable brand.”
NEW PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Big news out of the Marvel Studios panel at Comic Con over the weekend, or the big green news, was confirmation that Mark Ruffalo will play the Hulk/Bruce Banner in the new The Avengers movie. Ruffalo takes over the Hulk role that was most recently played by Edward Norton. There has been much discussion and many rumors about if Norton would reprise his Hulk role but this pretty much puts that to bed for this movie. Directed by Joss Whedon and set for release on May 4, 2012, The Avengers star studded cast and their roles include: Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury; Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; Chris Hemsworth as Thor; Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye; Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk and, of course, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.
MORE KIDS STUFF
Growing up can be hard enough, but when it means you’ll lose your fairy godparents too what would you do? We’ll find out in Nickelodeon‘s mixed live-action and CG animation TV movie version of its popular animated series The Fairly OddParents. Set to premiere in 2011, the live-action TV movie, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!, revolves around Timmy Turner, the star of the series who is now 23 years old (he’s 10 in the series) and refusing to grow up because it means leaving his fairy godparents, Cosmo and Wanda, behind. The movie stars Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) as Timmy and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and Daran Norris as the live action and animated Cosmo, respectively, and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Susanne Blakeslee as the live-action and animated Wanda, respectively. Still living at home and in 5th grade, things get complicated for Timmy when an old school classmate, Tootie (Daniella Monet, Victorious), returns to town. Once nerdy, Tootie has turned out to be gorgeous and Timmy’s got a crush all of which forces Timmy to make a decision about growing up. The movie also features Steven Weber (Wings, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) as an oil tycoon who wants to capture Cosmo and Wanda to user their power for no good. Executive producing the movie are series creator Butch Hartman and Lauren Levine, co-executive producer is Scott MacAboy, with Savage Steve Holland directing and Hartman and Scott Fellows (Big Time Rush) writing the script.
MTV Networks Japan and Animax Broadcast Japan, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will launch Nick Time, a Nickelodeon-branded one-hour programming block on Animax Japan on September 1. Nick Time will air six days a week (Monday-Friday 8a-8:30a, encore weekdays 2:30p-3p and Sundays 7a-7:30a), and will be available to 8.3+ million households, and feature Nickelodeon’s series SpongeBob SquarePants (in Japanese) and some short-form Nickelodeon content created specifically for Japan. Other Nickelodeon animated programming will be introduced in the near future.
Trinity Broadcasting Network re-ups its TV rights deal with Left Behind Games (LB Games), a publisher of Christian video games, for a second year of Charlie Church Mouse Show. LB Games holds the rights to the Charlie Church Mouse brand, including the TV series, computer games and kid’s products. Additionally, LB Games also plans to release the PC game Charlie Church Mouse 3D Bible Adventures in October 2010.
HarperCollins Publishers acquires the worldwide rights to publish a new young adult trilogy by Melissa Marr, author of the Wicked Lovely series. The new book series follows a girl assassin, “a demon with a soul,” in a world that is a mix of myth and science. The first title is tentatively slated for release in fall 2013. Meanwhile, the fifth and concluding title in the Wicked Lovely book series, Darkest Mercy, is set for release in February 2011. Universal purchased the feature film rights to the Wicked Lovely series last year, which will be produced by Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Picture Show Productions with Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) signed on to pen the screenplay.
In conjunction with moving from London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) to the Main List of the London Stock Exchange, E1 Entertainment becomes Entertainment One (eOne), and has also introduced a new brand identity across its entertainment and distribution operations. All of the movie, TV, music and distribution groups will now fall under the Entertainment One banner, and will adopt the new logo and following names: E1 Entertainment becomes Entertainment One (eOne); E1 Television shifts to Entertainment One Television (eOne Television); E1 Film is now Entertainment One Film (eOne Film); E1 Music becomes Entertainment One Music (eOne Music); and E1 Distribution is Entertainment One Distribution (eOne Distribution).
MGA Entertainment is expanding its new Moxie Girlz ( www.moxiegirlz.com ) doll line with the new Moxie Teenz ( www.moxieteenz.com ) group of dolls. Designed to be slightly older and more sophisticated than the Moxie Girlz dolls, Moxie Teenz are 14-inch dolls with interchangeable wigs and 15 points of articulation and each with her own personality and back story – one of the doll characters is in college and another performs on Broadway. The first four Moxie Teenz dolls, products and accessory packs will be available this fall 2010. Additionally, MGA is partnering with Burger King for a Moxie Girlz Kids Meal program this August 23-September 12.
Weekend Box Office Estimates for kids/tweens/teens rated G, PG or PG-13; July 23-25, 2010:
Inception (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $43.5m-2 wk total $143.7m
Salt (Sony) PG-13 Opening Weekend $36.5m
Despicable Me (Universal) PG $24.1m-3 wk total $161.7m
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Buena Vista) PG $9.7m-2 wk total $42.6m
Toy Story 3 (Buena Vista) G $9.0m-6 wk total $379.5m
Grown Ups (Sony / Columbia) PG-13 $7.6m-5 wk total $142.4m
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit Entertainment) PG-13 $7.0m-4 wk total $279.7m
The Last Airbender (Paramount) PG $4.2m-4 wk total $123.2m
Ramona and Beezus (Fox) G Opening Weekend $3.0m
Knight & Day (Fox) PG-13 $1.7m-5 wk total $72.7m
Source: Rentrak ( www.rentrak.com )
Skywriter Media and Entertainment Group appoints Gwen Jones McCauley as VP/Distribution and Acquisitions. She will oversee the distribution division while Paula McLaren is on maternity leave. McCauley joins Skywriter from Cookie Jar Entertainment where she was VP/Distribution and Sales Operations. She previously held senior sales management positions at BBC Worldwide Canada.
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia: This pair of cute furry bears traveled to our world from a parallel universe in this popular 1988 cartoon. Who are they? BLINKY & PINKY Kudos to …. nobody. Okay, here’s an easier one …
Today’s Trivia Question: When not overturning trash cans, eating seafood, romancing my pretty Persian cat girlfriend, or chasing mice, I spends time battling Spike. Who am I? (Email Cynthia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)
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